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Effects of flexible vegetation on oscillatory flow hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics

School of Engineering

About the Project

Coastal vegetation such as seagrass protects against coastal erosion by attenuating wave energy and demobilising suspended sediments. It is also ecologically important, providing shelter, nutrients and nursery areas for a wide variety of marine species. Although substantial research has been done to understand hydrodynamic processes over vegetated beds in steady unidirectional flows, little work has been done on unsteady, wave-generated (oscillatory) flows, despite the prevalence of vegetation in many coastal environments. The PhD research project will study detailed hydrodynamic and sediment dynamic processes under oscillatory flows over vegetated beds. Experiments will be conducted in the Aberdeen Oscillatory Flow Tunnel (AOFT), a unique research facility capable of generating oscillatory flows with periods and amplitudes equivalent to storm wave conditions. The experiments will involve a range of oscillatory flow conditions and different varieties of flexible artificial vegetation canopies to systematically study the effects of vegetation on the above- and within-canopy hydrodynamics, turbulence and sediment dynamics. Measurements will be made using advanced optical and acoustic measurement techniques (e.g. LDA, ADVP). Insights and data from the new measurements will be used to develop practical models for predicting wave-driven hydrodynamics and sediment transport for vegetated sea beds.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Civil/Mechanical Engineering; other relevant physical science.

Prior knowledge of the following would be beneficial but is not essential: sea wave mechanics; coastal engineering; hydraulics; sediment transport; laboratory measurements in fluid mechanics.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr D va der A (), with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Engineering. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Additional research costs up to £2,000 may be required to support experimental work. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT


Jacobsen, NG, McFall, BC & van der A, DA 2019, 'A frequency distributed dissipation model for canopies', Coastal Engineering, vol. 150, pp. 135-146.

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